While fans attend races to see exciting, on track action, sometimes, they’re around to see an impromptu masterclass like that of Justin Allgaier at Nashville.
Rolling off the grid from fifth, Allgaier and his No. 7 Hellmans Chevy Camaro team had a Lou Reed kind of Saturday afternoon. By that, the 36-year-old Riverton, Illinois native had a perfect day.
While AJ Allmendinger led the opening 18 laps, Allgaier scooted by for the number one spot on lap 19. Other than Ty Gibbs, who started 14th and led for four laps, the only driver to lead multiple laps at Nashville was Allmendinger (48).
In this case, Allgaier led 134 of 188 laps, just over 71% of Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250. About the only other challenge for Allgaier aside from a few of his on track rivals were the heat and humidity.
At least for the final 59 laps, Allgaier cruised to a 4.513 second victory over part-time competitor, Trevor Bayne, Riley Herbst, Gibbs and Sam Mayer.
Following some traditional victory burnouts along the frontstretch, Allgaier had to feel as thrilled as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in a fighter jet.
When asked to recap his day to NASCAR on USA’s pit reporter, Marty Snider, the mild mannered driver expressed his gratitude to the race fans on this unprecedented afternoon performance.
“I don’t think ever,” he said. “You fans that stuck around here in this heat, thank you all very much. What a heckuva race. I’ve been coming here a long time and I love this racetrack. I’ve been trying to go to victory lane and haven’t been able to do it.
“Today was for the dirt racers. It was slick. It was hot. We were sliding around. Just proud of this team. Everybody at JR Motorsports, the Hendrick engine shop, to get Hellmans back in victory lane, obviously, they’ve been a staple at JR Motorsports for a long time.”
Even a driver in great shape like Allgaier found himself tested by the extreme hot and humid conditions. Despite the grueling temperatures, the popular racer looks forward to bringing his Music City prize to his house.
“My heart rate’s still going high,” Allgaier said. “I’ve got a guitar to take home and we’re going to enjoy it, for sure. These black marks, they never get old. It was hot but I know y’all were a lot hotter up there in the grandstands. That was the best car I’ve ever had. This series is just so much fun right now. Man, that was a good race.”
Above all else, Allgaier dedicated his 18th Cup career win to his team and father, Mike.
“My dad’s had some health issues,” he said. “He’s been back at the racetrack this week. There’s nothing better than that. I’m proud of our team.”
With Allgaier earning his second win of 2022, Bayne, Herbst, Gibbs, Mayer, Ryan Preece, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Austin Hill, Ryan Sieg and Brett Moffitt rounded out the top 10.
Allgaier and his peers won’t have long to recover as they prepare for the Henry 180 at Road America (Saturday, July 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA)
Stage 1 Top 10 Finishers
Allgaier, Bayne, Herbst, Allmendinger, Hill, Berry, Gibbs, Jones, Mayer and Gragson
Stage 2 Top 10 Finishers
Allgaier, Gibbs, Mayer, Herbst, Bayne, Gragson, Berry, Jones, Preece and Hill
Tennessee Lottery 250 Top 10 Finishers
Allgaier, Bayne, Gibbs, Mayer, Preece, Earnhardt, Hill, Sieg and Moffitt